Cats with beards. Company ‘news’. Michael Buble emerging from a cave.
Whether brands are going for posts with the fun factor, or the serious thought-leader vibe, we’ve seen ‘em all.
And some are doing a great job. While some aren’t quite hitting the mark.
For every post with cringe-worthy engagement, we would lay our last penny on the fact that they haven’t got a solid social media strategy in place.
And that leads to mistakes being made.
Of course it does. Social media is a skillset, with tricks, twists and theory to make it work for you.
So don’t beat yourself up if your brand is flailing in the social space.
Smart social media builds brands up. It creates awareness and over time develops trust and loyalty. It draws prospects in like voodoo until they become customers.
Actual customers. Spending actual money.
Done right, social media delivers a rock-solid bottom line for your business.
So what are those six social media mistakes? And how do you avoid them? Grab a brew and let’s get down to business…
#1 SPRAY AND PRAY
Most companies know that social media matters these days. The problem is, they don’t know how to do it or where to start.
So what do they do? They spray and pray. Also known as the spaghetti approach, you chuck it against the wall and see what sticks.
I don’t think I’m breaking any industry secrets when I tell you that a bunch of random posts without a plan probably won’t get you in the FTSE 100 any time soon.
Lauren Brener, one half of the brains behind social legends Duo Creative, equates social media without a social strategy to a business without a business plan. You don’t really know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it or how you’ll know if it worked.
And she has a point. More than three-quarters of brands struggle to create a joined-up experience across channels for their customers.
And why is that?
One of the reasons is because social is treated as an afterthought. While traditional marketing strategies are painstakingly planned, based on insight and measured to within an inch of their lives, social media is thrown on at the end.
And it just doesn’t work.
Creating a good social media strategy takes as much work as any other business strategy. What’s the problem? What are you trying to achieve? Who’s the audience and what do you know about them? How will you measure success? I could go on…
Where your strategy takes you is up to you and your brand. The proverbial sky is the limit. But I can promise you that not having a strategy is a surefire way to end up stuck in the trees with no sky in sight at all.
#2 NOT GETTING PERSONAL WITH PLATFORMS
Each social media platform has its own personality.
This can be a pitfall for smaller brands with small resources. It can be time-saving to share the same content and word-for-word teaser on Facebook as they do on LinkedIn, the ‘gram and wherever else.
But don’t think of social media as a single channel. It’s a bunch of different channels. Your content – and how you introduce it – should be personalised to the platform you’re sharing it on.
- Linked In? That’s professional, best to keep it relatively straight with a small dose of personality thrown in to keep it real.
- Facebook? A bit more personal and with a whole lot more personality. Throw in more of the fun, too.
- Twitter? That’s for a debate and a chat – a great spot to spark up a conversation with an influencer.
- Instagram? It’s visual. So show us what’s going on behind the scenes or give us a sneak peek of your new product.
Think of it this way, you wouldn’t talk to your gran the way you talk to your best pal. Adopt the same approach when it comes to social media.
Social media is about building relationships.
Like any relationship, they’re built over time. Sure, there might be an instant attraction. But long-term trust, loyalty and love take work. Consistent hard work.
If you’re not careful, you could fall into a social media hamster wheel, which goes something like this:
- You decide your brand needs to up your social game, because that’s what all the sexy brands are doing, right?
- You get busy posting for a few days. Then a big project comes in and your social activity dies out. Then you pick it back up again with a few more random posts.
- You don’t see the engagement you were looking for and lose heart.
- 6 months pass and you decide you need to up your social game…
You’re in the hamster wheel. And you’re not alone in there! Making time for social is one of the biggest nuts to crack.
Social media is a long game. If you want your prospects to develop a relationship with your brand, you need to put the effort in and be consistent. Regular, thought-through content published week in, week out, month after month, year after year.
There are lots of tools and tricks to help you keep the content coming. And it doesn’t have to take up half your week.
Get yourself a simple calendar and plan ahead over the next few months so you’re not left struggling for ideas. Check out some of the handy tools like Sprout or Hootsuite designed to make it short work for you.
Or ask an agency that lives and breathes social media and works with some of the biggest names in the industry.
Engaging consistently becomes a virtuous circle. The algorithms that social platforms are based on show more love to accounts which post regularly and which more people interact with.
Get yourself out there a bit more and interact with people more. You’ll soon find that more people will see you on their feeds more often. And so on and so upwards.
#4 TALKING AT
Picture this: you’ve met someone new and you’re quite interested. We’ll call them Derek.
After a while, you realise you only ever talk about what Derek wants to talk about. Derek talks about Derek A LOT. And actually, it’s not really a conversation because Derek only really does one-way.
You drop Derek quite quickly.
Don’t let your brand be a Derek.
Derek’s only talk about themselves. They don’t share content from other interesting sources. They don’t even engage in conversations related to content that they’ve put out there.
The 5:3:2 content ratio is a good rule of thumb and one most industry experts sign up to. For every ten posts:
- Five should be content from other sources that are relevant to your audience.
- Three should be content you’ve created, which will include a mix of straight sales as well as white papers, ebooks and so on.
- Two should be fun and personal and help to ‘humanise’ your brand so followers feel like they know you.
Don’t forget to interact, either. Try to treat followers like they’re friends. Be human and be real. If you’ve posted something and someone bothers to respond or ask a question, then have the courtesy to reply wherever possible.
#5 IGNORING THE INFLUENCERS
Consumers are increasingly cynical. They spot old fashioned marketing-speak a mile off. They just don’t trust what brands tell them anymore.
Enter the influencers.
Celebrities, industry experts, or just those who’ve created huge followings one way or another. Influencers have credibility, often massive followings and, as the name suggests, big influence.
The idea of using a celebrity to endorse a product isn’t new. The difference is that social media has made it much easier for small brands to tap into that and build a relationship with an influencer.
HOW you work with influencers is a subject for a whole other post, and probably a book too. But ignore the influencers and you – and your brand – lose out.
#6 PRESSING ON BLINDLY
So, you’ve got yourself a shiny strategy. You’re targeting for the platforms, you’re posting regularly, you’ve got influencers coming over for Christmas dinner. Marvellous.
Now, do you:
- A) Carry on doing that forever, cross your fingers extra hard and hope for the best, or
- B) Keep improving and refining so those influencers haven’t forgotten you by valentine’s day?
But you’d be surprised how many brands seem to find themselves going with option A. Instead of measuring, responding and refining, they just keep on keeping on.
Eventually, that stops working.
Social media is a fast-moving beast. If you want it to work for your business, you have to move with it. Which is why you need to be testing and measuring what you’re doing.
What content sparks the interest of your prospects? What’s making waves and what’s barely making a ripple?
Crucially, which bits of your content are leading to conversions?
Your analytics have got the answers, so use them. And then evolve your content accordingly. What was setting the world on fire six months ago might be falling flat right now.
There you have it – the six big social media mistakes and how to avoid them.
Ready to get cracking? Dive into our free, in-depth eBook to kick things off.
Image via bitsfrombytes.com